Special Google “doodle” to mark the 50th anniversary of the birth of Viktor Tsoi
Tsoi’s song Filmi (Films)
Kino singing Peremen ((We Want Changes)
Now, let’s hear from Akvarium…
Soviet rock star Viktor Tsoi… whose death in a car crash in 1990 quickly earned him cult status… had the 50th anniversary of his birth celebrated with a Google doodle. The search engine turned its homepage emblem into graffiti, overlapped with the words Tsoi and Kino, Tsoi’s band. It’s a nod to the famous “Tsoi Wall” in downtown Moscow, which pays tribute to the late musician. The lead singer and songwriter for Kino, which he helped to found in 1982, Tsoi died in August 1990 in the then-Soviet republic of Latvia. He was 28 years old. Events in tribute to the late musician will be held across Russia, with a concert featuring cover versions of his songs to be held in Moscow.
Kino was, along with Boris Grebenshchikov‘s Akvarium, part of the Leningrad (now St Petersburg) underground rock scene. Whilst drawing heavily on Western rock and especially New Wave, Kino crafted a uniquely Russian sound complete with lyrics often critical of the Soviet Union. Indeed, the group encapsulated much of the 1980s generation’s disillusionment with the Soviet system. In the 1986 song Filmi (Films), Tsoi sang, “I knew everything would turn out badly, but I didn’t know [that it would happen] so soon”. With the spread of Mikhail Gorbachyov‘s perestroika reform policies, Kino achieved even greater acclaim, culminating in a concert at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in June 1990. It was the last time Tsoi appeared on stage.
Ever since his death, critics argued over how we should judge Tsoi’s musical legacy, and whether he’d still have a cult following if he were alive. However, on Friday, standing by the graffiti-covered Tsoi Wall just off Old Arbat, Moscow’s main tourist stretch, Kino fan Oleg, 47, dismissed such speculation, saying, “That’s futile, Tsoi gave me hope. Kino and a couple of other groups were the only things that kept me going in the late 1980s”. Another man shouted, “Tsoi is alive!” before starting to play Peremen (We Want Changes), one of Kino’s most popular songs, on his guitar.
21 June 2012